Flashy SPEED RACER zooms onto DVD and Blu-ray, plus vfx-heavy TV shows CHUCK and PUSHING DAISIES debut their first seasons on DVD.
SPEED RACER On DVD And Blu-ray
Start your engines and fasten your seatbelts for the high-octane adventure SPEED RACER from Warner Home Video, combining heartfelt family humor and groundbreaking visual effects. Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is a natural behind the wheel of his thunderous Mach 5. With support from Pops and Mom Racer (John Goodman and Susan Sarandon), girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci), younger brother Spritle (Paulie Litt) and the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox), Speed takes on fierce competitors to save his family's business and protect the sport he loves. When Speed steps onto the track, it's not just a race. It's an adrenaline-fueled, high-speed charge to the finish.
Once again, the Wachowskis look to the past -- in this case anime -- to break new ground with digital cinema, which is where the future of movies is headed. And in SPEED RACER, which contains more than 2,000 vfx shots from nearly a dozen studios (Digital Domain, BUF, Evil Eye Pictures, Sony Pictures Imageworks, CIS Hollywood, Rainmaker, Rising Sun Pictures, ILM, CafeFX, Look! Effects, Lola Visual Effects, Gentle Giant Studios and Halon Ent.), they have literally found the perfect vehicle to explore the power of idealistic virtue and artistic freedom through the essence of anime. From the opening images of racing car drawings in a flipbook, the metaphor of Eadweard Muybridge's objects in motion is conveyed through a number of references right on through "Bullet Time" and beyond (with zebras, no less). But with SPEED RACER, we have a whole new convergence of escapist interactive thrills where anything is possible.
"They were in a frame of mind to re-imagine something that influenced them as young people," recalled John Gaeta, who, with Dan Glass, spearheaded the internal vfx production effort with many of their previous collaborators from THE MATRIX trilogy. "As we now know, they are appreciators of anime. And like late baby boomers or Gen-Xers, SPEED RACER was one of the first animes to land and grab people's attention [back in the '60s]. Really, when you look back at that cartoon and its production values, it's very simplistic animation -- more so than most. But you don't remember it that way. It reminds me of NARNIA in that it has a different energy and magic reading it as an adult as opposed to reading it as a child. If you do look at the story threads, they are quite edgy, and there's a lot going on concerning the relationships and obstacles in terms of the family against all purveyors of fixed racing and corporate espionage. The first conversation had to do with the story of the family against all odds, and then a good action subtext for them to glitterize and modernize and Wachowskiize in the way that they would love to see cars today."
DVD Special Features Include:
--"Spritle in the Big Leagues" set tour featurette--"Speed Racer: Super Charged!" featurette--Online Digital Copy (extra charge)
Blu-ray Special Features Include:
--"Spritle in the Big Leagues" featurette--"Speed Racer: Supercharged!" featurette--"Speed Racer: Car-Fu Cinema" featurette on special effects--Speed Racer: Crucible Challenge interactive game--Digital Copy
CHUCK: The Complete First Season On DVD
Catch up with your favorite computer geek turned government operative as he saves the world one secret mission at a time with CHUCK: The Complete First Season on DVD September 16, 2008 from Warner Home Video. Executive producers Josh Schwartz (THE O.C., GOSSIP GIRL) and McG (CHARLIE'S ANGELS, WE ARE MARSHALL) merge techno-gadgetry, martial-arts smack downs, narrow escapes and gorgeous spies in short shorts into an action comedy about a millennium every guy. When a 20-something computer geek (Zachary Levi) inadvertently downloads critical government secrets into his brain, he becomes the CIA's most valuable asset, and must be protected by undercover agents John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and the beautiful Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski).
Zoic handles the bulk of vfx work for CHUCK and Andrew Orloff details his company's involvement with the series. "Starting with the pilot, the Visual Effects Supervisor/Coordinator Mike Leone and I worked together with production to find the overall vfx credo. McG, who is the exec producer and the director of the pilot, was very interested in having it playing like an old-fashioned James Bond spy drama. He didn't want to do anything too overt or crazy, but there was a lot of work designing the cool, retro-look to a lot of the stuff in the pilot."
The four-disc set includes all 13 episodes, along with two all-new featurettes, a file of declassified scenes, a gallery of web-originated mini-featurettes and a playable demo of EA Sports' MADDEN NFL 09 for Xbox 360.
"Pilot"Chuck Versus the Helicopter""Chuck Versus the Tango""Chuck Versus the Wookiee""Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp""Chuck Versus the Sandworm""Chuck Versus the Alma Mater""Chuck Versus the Truth""Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami""Chuck Versus the Nemesis""Chuck Versus the Crown Vic""Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover""Chuck Versus the Marlin"
--Declassified Scenes--Chuck's World -- An inside look at character development and casting sessions--Chuck on Chuck -- Series Stars Zachary Levi and Joshua Gomez join creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak for some point/counterpoint--Chuck vs. the Chuckles -- aka: The Gag Reel--Chuck's Online World -- a gallery of web originated mini-featurettes--Playable demo of EA Sports' MADDEN NFL 09 for Xbox 360
BEETLEJUICE: Deluxe Edition On DVD
Re-released on DVD, 1988's BEETLEJUICE is from Warner Home Video (vfx by Visual Concept Engineering). What's a couple of stay-at-home ghosts to do when their beloved home is taken over by trendy yuppies? They call on Beetlejuice, the afterlife's freelance bio-exorcist to scare off the family -- and everyone gets more than she, he or it bargains for! Tim Burton guides this PG-rated comedy monsterpiece whose stars include Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Winona Ryder. And Michael Keaton is Beetlejuice, the ghost with the most who flings one-liners, spins into grotesque forms, gobbles insects, and who just can't leave the ladies (living or dead) alone. Ghoul love it!
DVD Special Features:
--Beetlejuice Cartoon Episodes--A-Ha--Skeletons In The Closet--Spooky Boo-tique--Music Only TrackTheatrical Trailers:--BEETLEJUICE--PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE
PUSHING DAISIES: The Complete First Season On DVD And Blu-ray
Every not-so-often, along comes a show that's different. Wonderfully different. PUSHING DAISIES, from Warner Home Video, is the story of Ned, a lonely pie maker whose touch can reanimate the dead. Cool, but there's a hitch. If Ned touches the person again, the miracle is reversed. If he doesn't, a bystander goes toes up. What to do? Easy: Team with a private eye, bring murder victims back just long enough to discover whodunit, and collect the rewards. Things go well until Ned's boyhood sweetie is the next dear departed, and he can't resist bringing her back for keeps! Dig the wit, style and quirky romance: If you're not laughing, you may need a visit from Ned.
Kymber Lim, exec producer at Entity FX, explains how they came to the project. "Initially they hired one studio to do the visual effects for PUSHING DAISIES without realizing how much work there was, so that's when we were called to help them from the second episode. We have been working very closely with Bill Powloski, the visual effects supervisor of the series. It is a very ambitious show in terms of budget and schedule just like most TV shows. Even now, there are a lot of creative aspects that are still being developed and worked on and they do want the overall aesthetic of the show to be magical."
PUSHING DAISIES' second season premieres on ABC on Wednesday, October 1.
"Pie-lette""Dummy""The Fun in Funeral""Pigeon""Girth""Bitches""Smell of Success""Bitter Sweets""Corpsicle"
DVD and Blu-ray Special Features Include:
--"Pie Time: Time for Pie" -- An interactive featurette with creators of the show, the set designer and special effects team as well as interviews with show creator Bryan Fuller and lead actor Lee Pace.
THE LOVE GURU On DVD And Blu-ray
In the comedy THE LOVE GURU (Paramount Home Ent., vfx by Brainstorm Digital, ILM, Lola Visual Effects, RotoFactory and Soho VFX), Pitka (Mike Myers) is an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and raised by gurus. He moves back to the U.S. to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality. His unorthodox methods are put to the test when he must settle a rift between Toronto Maple Leafs star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) and his estranged wife. After the split, Roanoke's wife starts dating L.A. Kings star Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake) out of revenge, sending her husband into a major professional skid to the horror of the team's owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) and Coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer). Pitka must return the couple to marital nirvana and get Roanoke back on his game so the team can break the 40-year-old "Bullard Curse" and win the Stanley Cup.
Special Features Include:
--"Mike Myers and the Love Guru: An Inside Look"--One Helluva Elephant--Hockey Training For actors--Deleted and extended scenes--Bloopers--Back in the booth with Trent and Jay--Outtakes and more--Theatrical Trailer--Digital Copy (Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray only)
101 DALMATIANS II: PATCH'S LONDON ADVENTURE On Special Edition DVD
For the first time in almost five years, an irresistible animated classic returns to DVD in the delightful 101 DALMATIANS II: PATCH'S LONDON ADVENTURE Special Edition, available to own on September 16, 2008 from Walt Disney Studios Home Ent. For a limited time only, Pongo, Perdita and their adorable brood are back in another action-packed feature. Feisty pup Patch longs to be special but feels lost in a sea of spots. His dreams of being a larger than life hero like his TV idol, Thunderbolt, come true when his brothers and sisters are kidnapped and Patch is the only one who can save them from the clutches of their archenemy, Cruella De Vil!
All of the lovable Dalmatians are on hand for an adventure that will be unforgettable fun for the entire family. Non-stop thrills, inspiring messages, music videos and a new interactive game make this an unbeatable addition to every Disney DVD library.
101 DALMATIANS On DVD
Disney's all-time classic puppy tale comes to life in the live-action adventure 101 DALMATIANS, available to own on DVD on September 16, 2008 from Walt Disney Studios Home Ent. In their small London flat, Dalmatians Pongo, Perdy and their human "pets" Roger and Anita welcome a litter of 15 adorable puppies. But their joy turns to dismay when fur-loving Cruella De Vil dispatches her clumsy cohorts, Jasper and Horace, to dognap every Dalmatian pup in London. As Pongo and Perdy rally the city animals for a daring rescue, the pooches manage to outwit their captors long enough to bring on a thrilling final showdown with Cruella and her henchmen!
Available on DVD for the first time in seven years, 101 DALMATIANS has thrilled audiences of all ages with its fast-paced mix of adventure and comedy, as well as the largest and cutest collection of puppies ever brought to the big screen. The film also features a superb cast of human actors, including Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson and Joan Plowright, plus a bravura performance by five-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil.
102 DALMATIANS On DVD
There's even more outrageous fun for the dog lover in everyone when 102 DALMATIANS comes to DVD for the first time in four years on September 16, 2008 from Walt Disney Studios Home Ent. The hilarious adventure stars the audacious Oddball, an all white Dalmatian puppy in search of her rightful spots, and Waddlesworth (voiced by Eric Idle), a wisecracking macaw who thinks he's a Rottweiler. From the streets of London to a posh Parisian bakery, this barking mad duo leads a posse of puppies on a mission to outfox unrepentant fur felon Cruella De Vil. Filled with chases, close calls, hilarious antics and thrilling escapes, this adventure-packed tale is a wacky good time that will have the entire family howling with laughter.
Starring five-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil, 102 DALMATIANS comes with a pack of bonus features including behind the scenes featurettes, a special deleted scene with optional commentary, a music video, audio commentary by the filmmakers and more.
DUCKMAN: Seasons One And Two On DVD
The highly anticipated first two seasons of the critically-acclaimed, off-the-wall animated television series DUCKMAN, starring Jason Alexander, hatch onto DVD for the first time ever as a collectible three disc set on September 16 from CBS Home Ent. and Paramount Home Ent.
A dark, thrice Emmy nominated and CableAce Award winning series, DUCKMAN features the voice talent of Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Jason Alexander (SEINFELD) as a crude, booze-swilling private detective duck who moves in with his family in the wake of his wife's untimely death.
Created by Everett Peck from his heralded Dark Horse comic book of the same name, Duckman isn't your average suave, sophisticated private eye. In fact, he's rude, ignorant, slovenly and hasn't had a date in years. With the help of his infinitely more capable sidekick, Cornfed, Duckman manages to solve enough cases to cover his alimony payments and cable TV bills. Dweezil Zappa co-stars as Duckman's young son, Ajax.
Featuring guest-starring turns from many of Hollywood's most acclaimed comic actors, DUCKMAN: Seasons One and Two includes visits from Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, James Belushi, Bobcat Goldthwait and Tim Curry. DUCKMAN: Seasons One and Two includes all 22 episodes from the series' first two seasons plus loads of all-new bonus features including commentary from Jason Alexander and Everett Peck on the pilot episode; the interactive featurette "Six Degrees of Duckman"; and featurettes "What The Hell Are You Starin' At?: A Special Investigation Inside Duckman, Private Dick/Family Man" and "Designing Duckman: Inside the Creation of an Anti-Hero from Comic Book Character to Screen Star."
The DVD disc breakdown is as follows:
Disc One:--"I, Duckman" (Pilot) Includes Optional Commentary From Jason Alexander And Series Creator Everett Peck--"T.V. Or Not To Be"--"Gripes of Wrath"--"Psyche"--"Gland of Opportunity"--"Ride The High School"--"A Civil War"--Promo Spots
Disc Two:--"Not So Easy Riders"--"It's The Thing Of The Principal"--"Cellar Beware"--"American Dicks"--"About Face"--"Joking The Chicken"Special Features:--What The Hell Are You Starin' At?: A Special Investigation Inside Duckman, Private Dick/Family Man--Designing Duckman: Inside the Creation of an Anti-Hero from Comic Book Character to Screen Star--Six Degrees of Duckman -- Interactive Featurette
Disc Three:--"Papa Oom M.O.W.M.O.W."--"Married Alive"--"Days Of Whining And Neurosis"--"Inherit The Judgment: The Dope's Trial"--"America The Beautiful"--"The Germ Turns"--"In The Nam Of The Father"--"Research And Destroy"--"Clip Job"
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: The Alviiinnn!!! Edition On DVD
It's Alvin in all of his mischievous glory! This two-disc compilation includes Alvin's most hilarious, action-filled comedy adventures. It's time for side-splitting laughter with Alvin, whose antics take him from Hawaii to army boot camp, ski slopes and more! Even when he has the best of intentions, you'll understand when Dave cries, "ALVIIINNN!!!"
MY LITTLE PONY LIVE! THE WORLD'S BIGGEST TEA PARTY On DVD
Pinkie Pie and her friends are planning "The World's Biggest Tea Party" and every pony has promised to bring something special to make the celebration positively perfect. As Pinkie Pie arrives at the party, she realizes that she forgot something very important -- the tea! Will the ponies be able to save The World's Biggest Tea Party? Join Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity the Unicorn and all your pony friends as they learn that teamwork and true friendship always come to the rescue!
Special Features Include:
Sing-A-Longs:--"Where Do Rainbows Come From"--"Make a New Friend Everyday"--"Positively Pink"--"Friendship & Flowers"--"We're The Lady Bugs"
AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER The Complete Book 3 Collection On DVD
Having survived the terrible battle with Azula, Aang faces new challenges as he and his brave friends secretly enter the Fire Nation in this 21-episode box set from Nickelodeon Home Ent. and Paramount Home Ent.
Their quest is to find and defeat Firelord Ozai. Along the way, they discover that Ozai has plans of his own. The leader of the Fire Nation intends to use the massive power of Sozin's Comet to spread his dominion permanently across the four nations. Short on time, Aang has a lot of bending to learn and no master to help him learn it. However, his friends are there to help, and he finds unexpected allies deep in the heart of the Fire Nation. In the spectacular four-part conclusion, Aang must fulfill his destiny and become a fully realized Avatar, or watch the world go up in smoke.
Special Features Include:
--Inside Sozin's Comet: Exclusive Four-Part Audio Commentary by Creators--The Women of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER--Book 3 Finale Pencil Test Animation--Into the Fire Nation at San Diego Comic-Con
DEATH NOTE On DVD
Live-action film, DEATH NOTE, based on the popular manga (graphic novel) and animated series is out on DVD now from Viz Pictures. The DVD features a newly dubbed English soundtrack, along with the original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles. Special bonus features include an interview with the film's director Shusuke Kaneko, an insightful "Making of DEATH NOTE" segment and the original theatrical trailers. DEATH NOTE will carry a suggested retail price of $24.98 and will be distributed in North America by VIZ Media.
Based on the hit supernatural action mystery manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, DEATH NOTE was released in Japan in 2006 and mirrors the manga's story of Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects who is bored out of his mind. All of that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god named Ryuk. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to investigate, and he is soon hot on the trail of Light, who must now reevaluate his one noble goal. Both Light and L believe themselves to be on the side of justice, and the two match wits trying to show exactly which of them is "good" and which of them is "evil."
The DEATH NOTE manga and animated series have become extremely popular across North America. A 37-episode animated series is seen by millions each week on cable broadcast and the animated series is also distributed on DVD by VIZ Media (rated T+ for Older Teens). On the print side, DEATH NOTE 13: HOW TO READ, a companion volume to the successful manga series, also published domestically by VIZ Media, was recently ranked in USA TODAY's Top 150 list of America's best-selling books.
DANNY PHANTOM Seasons One and Two On DVD
Ready to take a trip to the other side? Well, chill with all the frighteningly good episodes from Season 1 of DANNY PHANTOM from Paramount Home Ent. and Nickelodeon Home Ent. Find out how an average kid became part ghost, and all ghost hunter. Then join Danny and pals Sam and Tucker on otherworldly adventures that'll have you up close and personal with Technus, the Spectral Master of all things technological... Penelope Spectra, a ghost who feeds off teen misery... and Danny's archenemy, Vlad Plasmius.
There're more ghostly good adventures in Season 2 of DANNY PHANTOM. On three action-packed DVDs, you'll encounter spirited specters like Skulker, Desiree, Youngblood, and more, all unleashed on the world and ready to take over... if Danny doesn't capture them in time. Hang on, because once you tune in, there's no tuning out on these spirited unearthly missions.
HULK On Blu-ray
HULK, adapted by Ang Lee (CROUCHING TIGER/HIDDEN DRAGON, THE ICE STORM) from the Marvel comic book series, stars Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, the tormented scientist whose temper periodically transforms him into a raging green monster. Fellow scientist and Hulk-love-interest Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly), shares a strange connection with Banner -- both have abstract childhood nightmares that hint at a shared dark past. The missing pieces of the puzzle are revealed when Banner's unstable, mad-scientist father David (Nick Nolte) appears out of the blue, followed by Betty`s father Ross (Sam Elliot), a military cowboy.
From Universal Studios Home Ent., the 2003 version of HULK is now on Blu-ray.
ILM veteran Colin Brady, the animation supervisor, explains that director Ang Lee was so specific in his direction of the computer-animated Hulk, requiring that he act more like a 4-year-old child throwing a temper tantrum than an out of control adult, that Brady urged him to don the motion capture suit himself.
"Ang gave an amazing performance and after reviewing all the takes, we decided that his performance was the best," Brady suggests. "Even for the tank sequence, we built these miniature props and brought in a stunt guy and ex-football player and shot several motion capture sessions, beating the heck out of these tanks and smashing them up. And while all the physical motion was correct, the acting wasn't there. But Ang gave good angst. Even the Hulk beating up the tank with the turret was 99% Ang. He would really emphasize [the less is more mentality] that to me is what I was already drawn to in his films. You look at HULK. There is very little change that happens on the faces of the actors. We tried very hard not to over animate because that's what Ang stressed."
THE MIST On Blu-ray
From legendary frightmaster Stephen King and three-time Oscar-nominated director Frank Darabont (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE GREEN MILE) comes THE MIST, now on Blu-ray from The Weinstein Company (vfx by CafeFX). After a mysterious mist envelopes a small New England town, a group of locals trapped in a supermarket must battle a siege of otherworldly creatures, and the fears that threaten to tear them apart. Starring Thomas Jane (THE PUNISHER) and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden (MYSTIC RIVER) in one of the year's most talked-about performances.
Visual Effects Supervisor Everett Burrell says Darabont chose CafeFX as the lead house on the film via a recommendation from Guillermo del Toro, who used the Santa Maria, Calif.-based shop on PAN'S LABYRINTH.
While THE MIST is a fairly straightforward horror film about a small town enveloped in a heavy mist that brings other-dimensional creatures with it, the scariest thing for Burrell was the small budget and short schedule.
"We talked a lot about what to do and the reality set in about the budget," he said. "There was no money. The budget for the entire film was $17 million."
But the story had fans that were thrilled to be working on the project, regardless of the budget. "I almost fell out of my chair because THE MIST is one of my long time favorite short stories or novellas from college," says CafeFX Animation Supervisor James Straus.
Special Features Include:
--Two versions of the film, in color and black and white--Commentary with writer/director Frank Darabont and producer Denise Huth--Eight deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary with Frank Darabont--"A Conversation with Stephen King and Writer/Director Frank Darabont"--"When Darkness Came: The Making of THE MIST"--"Taming the Beast: The Making of a Scene"--"The Horror Of It All: The Visual FX Of THE MIST"--"Drew Struzan: An Appreciation of an Artist"--Three trailers for the film--Three Webisodes look at the making-of three scenes: "Earthquake," "Burn Man" and "Franny, the Flamethrower."